Nicole Perrino here. Not sure if you are ready to hear this, but it’s back to school next week! The first day for New York City public schools is Thursday, Sept. 8. We hope you’re done braving those long lines for school supplies and can take a moment to breathe before the first-day madness. This week we’re sharing some back to school basics as well as an interesting interview between our publisher S. Mitra Kalita and education reporter Anya Kamenetz about her new book, “The Stolen Year: How COVID Changed Children’s Lives, and Where We Go Now.”
A New Start
A new school year is always a fresh start. Never made it to a PTA meeting last year? Now’s your chance. Didn’t stick to the no video games until after dinner rule? Try it again. September is often the real New Year for parents, so get the pen and notebook out and jot down some goals for the 2022-23 school year.
Back in spring, the 2022-23 PTA executive board was voted in at each school across the city. If you’d like to get involved beyond attending meetings, the September PTA meeting is a great opportunity to see if there are any roles that were not filled during the elections and to sign up to volunteer at upcoming events. After two years of virtual events, many PTAs are excited to resume in-person events and will appreciate the extra hands.
Attending any open houses or back-to-school nights is a great way to meet teachers, guidance counselors, the parent coordinator, and other school staff at your child’s school. If there are any concerns you’d like to discuss with the guidance counselor ahead of the school year, this is a great way to have an extra ally to offer support to your child. When my oldest daughter was in kindergarten, her teacher shared that she had been a little nervous and talking about the upcoming birth of her new baby sister. So, I reached out to her school’s guidance counselor and asked that she speak with her to let her know she was available should she need to talk about her feelings. Her counselor even went the extra mile and gave her a ‘new big sister’ certificate.
If for some reason you find yourself needing to switch your child’s school, there are enrollment counselors you can reach out to for assistance. Some reasons the Department of Education acknowledges for transferring schools include:
- Moved within NYC: Elementary school students can search for their zoned school and register directly at that school. High school students and elementary students who do not have a zoned school can contact a Family Welcome Center to transfer.
- Safety concerns: work with your child’s school to submit the proper documentation to the Family Welcome Center for an emergency transfer.
- Accessibility needs: you can request a medical transfer via the Family Welcome Center.
- Academic or social concerns, travel or childcare hardship: reach out to the Family Welcome Center.
Tutoring & after school programs
If you are seeking additional help for your child in any particular subject(s), there are free tutoring options available for NYC students.
School guidance counselor: Reach out to your child’s guidance counselor to learn about any tutoring programs offered in school or outside resources that might be available in the area.
New York Public Library: The NYPL offers free online tutoring with Brainfuse using your library card. One-on-one online tutors are available daily from 2 to 11 p.m.
Dial-A-Teacher: The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) Dial-A-Teacher program is another way students can receive free help. Students can call (212) 777-3380 Monday through Thursday 4 to 7 p.m., for help with homework from a qualified, licensed teacher.